May 21, 2013
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
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SEATTLE - And you thought Nate Robinson's final game of the spring and summer came last week when the Chicago Bulls exited the NBA playoffs.
Nope. Robinson is among the biggest and best Dawgs who are coming back to UW for an alumni game -- and more - on "Husky Legends Return" day Sunday, June 23, at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Brandon Roy, Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon, Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten, Spencer Hawes, Eldridge Recasner, Will Conroy, Bobby Jones, Mike Jensen, and Jamaal Williams are among the other former Huskies who have submitted attendance confirmations for this unique day, one that Lorenzo Romar has envisioned for most of his 11 years as Washington's coach.
"We have such a strong and connected network of former players here at Washington, and they love getting the chance to catch up with each other," Romar said. "This event is about providing an opportunity for them to do so -- and for Washington basketball fans to get the chance to see some of their all-time favorites don the purple and gold once again."
This only-at-Washington Sunday will tipoff at 1 p.m. with a legends game featuring two teams of past UW standouts. All Husky basketball letter winners have been invited back to participate.
Big-man-turned-pinball-wizard Todd MacCulloch has RSVP'd that he will be there, but only as a spectator. But Christian Welp, Dion Brown, Recasner, Donald Watts, and Chester Dorsey are among those who have signed up to play in the legends game. Steve Hawes and Dick Crews are listed as coaches.
Maybe Huskies radio color analyst Jason Hamilton - and yes, maybe even Romar - will go up and down in a game for the aged ... uh, ages.
"Yeah, I may have to get out there," Romar said, coyly.
Hamilton tweeted on June 3 that "my comeback attempt to play in the #uwalumnigame failed" and that he won't be playing.
I don't believe him.
The more-recent Huskies will then play in a loaded alumni game featuring current professional players. Romar will pick the two teams of departed Dawgs for that game. It will be like many other summer days at Hec Ed, which often feature intense, top-level pickup games drawing from the one of the nation's deepest pools of native basketball talent.
Fans will then be treated to a 3-point shootout and a slam-dunk contest that is likely to feature Robinson and Ross. Robinson won the NBA's 2006 slam-dunk contest. Ross, a two-year star at UW, won the dunk contest during the league's All-Star weekend this past winter as the rookie eighth-overall draft choice of the Toronto Raptors.
Recasner, a 41-percent 3-point shooter over eight NBA seasons ending in 2002, plus Mark Sanford and Tre Simmons are signed up for the 3-point contest.
Tickets for "Husky Legends Return" are $15, with children under 12 admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at GoHuskies.com/Events.
Those who have RSVP'd yes as of June 4 for Husky Legends Return day: Jon Brockman, Brandon Burmeister, Will Conroy, Justin Dentmon, Eldridge Recasner, Abdul Gaddy, Hans Gasser, Spencer Hawes, Mike Jensen, Bobby Jones, Aziz N'Diaye, Nate Robinson, Terrence Ross, Brandon Roy, Tre Simmons, Scott Suggs, Isaiah Thomas, Jamaal Williams, Tony Wroten
Ticket holders will be able to talk and joke with coaches and the former players throughout the afternoon.
The event is being presented by 3 Point Productions, a Seattle-based live events and sports entertainment company.
"This is a one-of-a-kind event, and we're thrilled to be presenting it," said Pat Walker, President of 3 Point Productions.
Few schools can put on such an event with this many NBA players returning to their college home. The NBA regular season recently ended with eight of Romar's former Huskies on rosters: Ross, Robinson, Hawes (Philadelphia 76ers), Pondexter (Memphis Grizzlies), Roy (Minnesota Timberwolves), Thomas (Sacramento Kings), Wroten (Memphis Grizzlies), and Justin Holiday (76ers). Dentmon played into April with the Dallas Mavericks, after stints with the Raptors and San Antonio Spurs the previous season. Conroy started this NBA year with Minnesota and appeared in four games for the Timberwolves before being cut in November. And Brockman played one season for Sacramento and two for Milwaukee in the NBA before the Houston Rockets released him in October. UW's all-time rebounding leader and second-leading scorer spent this past winter playing for Limoges CSP in France's top-tier, Pro A League.
Martell Webster of the Washington Wizards was a Husky signee under Romar before he decided on entering the NBA draft out of high school.
About Gregg Bell Gregg Bell is an award-winning sports writer who joined the University of Washington's staff in September 2010 as the Director of Writing. Previously, Bell served as the senior national sports writer in Seattle for The Associated Press. The native of Steubenville, Ohio, is a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He received a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000.
Gregg Bell Unleashed can be found on GoHuskies.com each Wednesday.